Social Work Seminar—FACES

Every spring, Kuyper College’s senior social work cohort hosts an event that they plan, organize, and facilitate. Required for “Communities and Organizations,” a class all social work students must take as seniors, the event is designed to allow social work students to experience the tasks that are often involved with running an organization.

The 2013 social work cohort’s event was called “FACES”, or “Fostering Adolescents: Care and Education Seminar”. The topic—adolescents in foster care—is a relevant present-day issue. “It’s something people can understand and relate to,” said Becky Hartwick, one of many who helped plan the seminar. “And it’s one that most, if not all, social workers will encounter at some point in their career.”

The cohort submitted the seminar program to a review process by the state of Michigan and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) to have the event approved for Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits. These credits are needed by social workers to keep their license up to date. Additionally, the cohort established credit for foster parents through the event.

As an accredited event, the seminar attracted social workers, social work students, and foster parents throughout the region. Featuring several speakers, including Hollie Hosford, foster care supervisor at Bethany Christian Services, the seminar topics included practices surrounding teens in foster care, the struggles and benefits surrounding teens in foster care, and the firsthand experiences of teens and sibling groups in the foster care system.

To fully perform as a virtual organization, the cohort was divided into four departments: resource, finances, programs, and marketing. Each department was responsible for contributing to the success of the seminar.

Beyond the information that those in attendance received, the seminar helped to bring new understanding to cohort participants. “Because I’ve now experienced how agencies work when planning and running events, I feel prepared to deal with similar projects in the future,” said Hartwick.

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